Best Fast Casual Restaurants
We couldn't separate one restaurant as being better from the others in this category — they're all first place winners in our eyes. The restaurants are listed alphabetically.
This is a new category this year and we couldn’t be more excited about it. A sit-down dinner experience is always appreciated, but, when you’re tight on time, it’s good to know where you can go to get something delicious that’s prepared with care.
Seeing as Airdrie is becoming a shorter and shorter drive from our city limits these days, it seemed unfair not to give a nod to Abe’s. Tasty burgers, panini, grilled cheese, even fresh dumplings straight from Calgary’s Chinatown are just a few of the tasty in-and-out dishes here. Gluten-free? Don’t worry. Abe’s offers warm, toasty bread and buns from Calgary’s Care Bakery to keep you happily fed.
To be honest, I am shocked there aren’t more concepts with a gourmet-sandwich focus here in Calgary. B&B stands fairly uncontested, with good-quality breads, toppings like jerk-style pulled chicken and house-cured pork belly all prepared in-house, delicious breakfast sandwiches and $1 cups of coffee. I mean, c’mon! You can’t even get that kind of deal at Timmy’s anymore.
When the rumour spread that Sam Chanhao, owner of the top-rated Thai eatery Thai Sa-on was opening a funky little fast-casual version of his restaurant on 17th Avenue S.W., it got a lot of people excited. Naturally, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Chanhao, you know he hates to disappoint. An amazingly aromatic tom yum soup, crispy fried ginger prawns and a robust masman curry are just a few of the reasons why you need to try this spot for a quick bite if you haven’t yet.
There’s mom-and-pop Vietnamese like hole-in-the-wall favourite Pho Dau Bo, and there’s Jinhee Lee’s expert touch of Vietnamese contemporary at Raw Bar, but what about that perfect Goldilocks in-between? Look to Watercress for interesting flavour profiles, economical prices and presentation that one would not expect from a little grab-and-go eatery on 17th Avenue S.W. —Dan Clapson
1322 17 Ave. S.W., 403-455-6222